Greenfield Voters Recall Two Council Members, Leave Mayor in Limbo
Shaken, Not Settled
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Greenfield Mayor John Huerta is a handful of votes away from losing his seat, but he’s tired of talking politics. He prefers to focus on Rancho San Miguel, the Merced-based chain that will become the city’s only full-service grocery store when it opens this week.
“We’re going to draw people from King City and Soledad,” Huerta says. “It’s great for the community.”
The county Elections Department is preparing to audit Huerta’s recall vote by hand; a June 8 count showed him hanging onto his seat by just 42 votes.
Voters recalled City Council members Yolanda Teneyuque and John Martinez by substantial margins. Their replacements, former council members Agapito Vazquez and Yvette Gonzalez, leave Greenfield’s new council looking like a mashup of some old ones.
Leonard Dart, Huerta’s challenger and a former mayor, says the way to encourage business is to crack down on code violations. As the city’s only florist prepares to shutter after nine years, Dart blames people who sell flowers on street corners without permits.
Huerta says if he serves out his term, which ends in 2014, he’ll make beefed-up code enforcement a priority. But he’s most interested in recreation and opportunities for at-risk youth, modeled on Rancho Cielo’s successful program north of Salinas.
“What the voters want is to get some respectability back to the council, and get back to the work we were doing before a lot of divisive issues came up,” he says.
But there’s still plenty of division to go around.
Vazquez says a unified council, rather than more code enforcement, is the key to economic development.
But Dart sounds less interested in unity. “The two [councilmembers] being put back in office,” he says, “are the two who created the problems to begin with.”